What the £%!"$ Is Pardon My French
This weeks short Thursdays English speaking practice is about the idiom “pardon my French”. The English lesson is inspired by Julia Garner who plays a foul-mouthed female role in the Netflix series Ozarks. A lot of Julia Garner characters English dialog involved the use of profanities. However, when the character was in polite company or the character swore then the idiom “pardon my French” would be used to excuse the behavior.
Swearing and profanity is a big part of everyday spoken English. You might not be the person swearing but you are likely to hear it. Most TV and Films perpetuate this as showed by the Ozarks. So it is only fair you also learn a common idiom used to excuse this behavior as you are likely to hear it often.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and this is the latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Thursday podcast, so it’s a bit shorter and snappier than our Monday podcast. If you find that your level of English is OK for the Thursday podcast, but the Monday one is more difficult, then you could just practice by listening to all the previous Thursday podcasts first – and save the Monday ones for later!
Well, let’s talk about a phrase we use in English, that will just not make any sense, unless you recognise it as an idiom. The phrase today is ‘Pardon my French!’ So you might be in the middle of a conversation with somebody and they then say some words, possibly rude words, or words you might not know – and then they say ‘Pardon my French!’.
Pardon My French Origin Is Historic When Traveling French Speakers In Britain Were Few And Most English Speaker Did Not Understand What Was Being Said
The origin, the source of this phrase isn’t clear, but usually people say this when they’ve said a swear word, or maybe several swear words! A swear word, that’s S-W-E-A-R, is a bad word, a curse word, a profanity – a word which you may use, but which you probably wouldn’t say in front of your grandmother.
In English, one of the most frequently used swear words is ‘the F word’. But I’m not going to say that word, because this is family listening – and I try not to swear, when I’m doing Adept English podcasts! But if you’re interested in what that swear word is that we call ‘the F word’, then I’m sure that you can look it up. If you watch films in English, it comes up pretty regularly, so I’m sure you know the that word I mean! So that is a swear word.
But sometimes such a word can accidentally pop out of your mouth. You didn’t mean to say it, but you were very surprised or someone made you jump, or you hurt yourself. And as soon as you’ve said it, you realise whoops – that sounds impolite in front of the people that I’m with. So one way of excusing yourself in this situation, something that you might say to make it better is ‘Pardon my French!’.
Pardon My French Meaning Is a Phrase Used To In An Attempt To Excuse The Use Of A Profanity
So why French of all languages? Well, there’s a long history between Britain and France – and there were times when people in Britain might be speaking and they would use a French phrase – and then apologise, and then say sorry, because the people they’re with might not know French. I guess here the hope is, if you’re in really polite company, that the people you’re with will be so nice, so genteel, that they’ve never heard the swear word you’ve just used. T
They don’t know such terrible words! So instead you attempt to pass it off, to pretend it’s a foreign phrase, a bit of French. You try to get away with pretending it’s French! I don’t think many people would be fooled by that. I don’t think many people would’ve not heard the swear words. But that is the origin of the phrase ‘Pardon my French’, as much as anyone could work it out, anyway.
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You Are Likely To Hear The Phrase Pardon My French When Someone Swears Accidentally Although Julia Garner in The Netflix Series Ozarks Rarely Swore Accidentally
Recently we’ve just watched the second series of Ozark on Netflix. I love this series and one of the characters I like is called Ruth Langmore. In one scene, she is in a funeral home, discussing working there and in the presence of a dead body. Funeral homes are very polite places, but she accidentally swears (because the character, Ruth Langmore in the series swears a lot!). And she realises that she may have given offence and so she says ‘Pardon my French’.
I feel an apology, a pardon is perhaps owed to any French listeners – that your language is being used as a cover for English swear words. But this is something that we say and it’s quite light-hearted. So really no offence to French speakers is intended by this!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
Well I hoped you liked this English lesson about the idiom “pardon my French”, you notice that not a single swear word was uttered in the making of the lesson, which is a !""$£% miracle! (Just joking!)
Swearing in English is just a way of quickly conveying a feeling or emotion. They often do it in a light-hearted or humorous way with no real ill meaning intended. Swearing is not the preserve of the poor or poorly educated either. Just about everyone in the UK swears, most however will not do it in polite company.
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